Driving down to Norman, Oklahoma was nerve wracking for the Kansas State Wildcats. With three games left in the regular season, the Wildcats need to prove that they were worthy of an NCAA Tournament spot.
As they walked into Lloyd Noble Center to take on the Oklahoma Sooners, they knew what was on the line. It became the question of whether or not the Wildcats would execute the right moves at the right time to get the job done.
The Wildcats lost to the Sooners, 86-77. After a long, hard, competitive battle, the Wildcats slipped up and weren’t able to beat the Sooners for the second time this season.
K-State and Oklahoma met previously on Jan. 16, where K-State knocked them off their then-No. 4 seed spot when they beat them at home in Bramlage Coliseum, 87-69.
The game in Norman flipped compared to last time. When Oklahoma visited K-State, Trae Young had 20 points overall. In the first half alone, he had 18 points, and finished with 28 overall.
Prior to Saturday’s game, Oklahoma was on a six game losing streak. The Sooners walked in on fire from the moment the ball tipped. In both halves, the offense remained in sync while the defense was just enough to throw the Wildcats off guard and stifle them.
Oklahoma’s offense clicked from the beginning. In the first half, Oklahoma shot 7-13 from the three point and 13-29 from the field. The Wildcats only shot 14-35 from the field and 2-10 from the three point.
At the end, the Wildcats finished shooting 29-64 from the field and 4-21 from the three point. Oklahoma ended 29-55 from the field and 11-22 from the three point.
K-State had shot 40 points in the paint, nine second chance opportunities, six fast break and only seven came from the bench. For Oklahoma, 28 points came from the paint, two from a second chance opportunity, two from fast break, and 22 from their bench.
The score was tied a total of three times and the lead changed seven times. The largest lead for K-State was by two points, while the largest for OU was 15 points. K-State also got out rebounded by OU, 34-38.
As the second half went on, the Wildcats missed many unnecessary shots. They carried their “ugly” basketball trend from the Texas game at home, down to Norman.
As the lights flashed in the stadium, the Wildcats had some big plays. Xavier Sneed, Barry Brown, Cartier Diarra, Dean Wade and Amaad Wainright ended up having a lot of momentum for the Wildcats.
The Sooners had definitely done some soul searching after their 30-point loss against the Kansas Jayhawks, 74-104. Oklahoma fell to KU on Feb. 19.
Head coach Bruce Weber came into the post game press conference with a long face. All he could talk about was the rhythm of the game.
“It just seemed like we never got in a rhythm, I give credit to them,” Weber said.
Before coming to the game, Weber reviewed OU’s previous game film and looked at what they should do differently.
“Obviously people were scoring against them and we talked about scoring against them,” Weber said. “I thought [K-State] came out a little desperate for things, we were standing, had some empty possessions…[Oklahoma] stepped up.”
Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger talked about Saturday’s game, after finally getting out of the rut of losing.
“Tough battle from the start,” Kruger said. “We hadn’t been wining a lot, I just kept them to keep plugging and going.”
Oklahoma’s leading scorer Young said he didn’t do anything different during this game.
“I just shot like I usually do,” Young said. “It was a good way to start the game, by getting my shots up.”
The Wildcats ended their three game winning streak today and went down to 9-7 for Big 12 play. On Tuesday, the Wildcats will travel down to Fort Worth and take on TCU for the second time this season.